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Showing posts from November, 2012

A Miniature World

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A few months ago one of the photo magazines I subscribe to printed an article on how to produce 'planet' panoramics.  The idea is to produce a 360 degree panoramic image and turn it on itself to produce a round image that looks like a mini planet.

It doesn't work with all subjects and it has to be a strong image to work properly so I decided to try this technique at the final three circuits of the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship - Bahrain, Fuji and Shanghai.
The ones in Bahrain and Fuji worked well because I was using a D700 with a 17-35 f2.8 set at 17mm.  The one in Shanghai was taken on my Fuji X100 using the 35mm (equivalent) lens, which really wasn't wide enough.
The technique is fairly easy -
Take overlapping images in a 360 degree rotation.  It is easier on a level tripod but it can be achieved handheld with a little patience.  The problem comes when you join the ends, they have to match at the join.Stitch the 19 or so images into a long panoramic image.  Crop …

TEST: Handling the Noise

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All digital cameras have sensors that can be set by the user for sensitivity using a setting called ISO.  The higher the number the higher the sensitivity to light which means a photographer can take pictures in lower light. The trade off is what is referred to 'noise' in the image, artefacts that, in the days of film, was referred to 'grain'.  This has the effect of lowering the quality of the image.  On the flip side of this particular coin, the lower the ISO number, the less noise and the better quality final image.



The way a camera handles 'noise' is also dependent on a number of factors. The first being the size of the sensor and the number of pixels that is packed onto that sensor.  For example a mobile phone cameras sensor or simple digital point and shoot are tiny compared to normal cameras.  Manufacturers pack millions of pixels onto these tiny sensors but the downside is the fact they cannot handle low light photography very well.  Remember just becaus…

Moon Lit Night on Mull

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This image was taken on the Isle of Mull on our last trip to the island at Easter.  There was a full moon and the clouds over the Sound of Mull parted to produce a fantastic moon lit scene.

Putting the Nikon D300s and 18-50 f2.8 Sigma on the tripod I took several long exposure images of 30 seconds or more and the result was a very surreal moonlit shot of Calve Island in Tobermory Bay with the Sound of Mull stretching away in the background.  There was a fair breeze so the clouds were moving across the scene, which can be seen in the long exposure and the moon looks as bright as the sun. Hope you like the shot. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Picture of the Week: Alnwick Castle Mono

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In the past few months we've visited England's most northern county on three occasions as we've discovered the joys of Northumberland, a beautiful part of the UK that is only three hours up the A1 from where we live in Lincolnshire.


In August we had a family day in Alnwick.  One of the draws of the town is Alnwick Castle, which is famous for where they filmed the outdoor scenes at Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films.  Perched on a hill overlooking the river Alnwick Castle doesn't look like Hogwarts from the outside but it is a perfect example of a medieval English castle on the frontier with Scotland.
We paused to admire the scene while heading back into Alnwick and also so I could photograph the castle from the river bridge.
There will be more from Northumberland on this blog soon.
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ALL IMAGES ARE THE PROPERTY OF MACLEAN PHOTOGRAPHIC AND CANNOT BE USED FOR ANY PU…

REVIEW: Accessorise the X100

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Over the past month I have been trying out the Fujifilm X100 in various situations and finding that the more I use this camera the more I find myself admiring the many features that Fuji have built into it.  However there are a couple of items that I've added to make the X100 a little more flexible and also found that some of the items that Fuji supply aren't all that useful. WCL-X100 I wrote a blog post a few weeks ago about the WCL-X100 wide angle converter and the non standard item I purchased for £15 from Hong Kong from eBay.  This was a poor choice as the image quality matched the price I paid and I have since purchased the official converter. And what a difference it makes! 

The WCL-X100 screws onto the existing lens on the camera and once fitted it looks seemless.  The converter turns the 23mm f2 (35mm in full frame terms) into a 19mm f2 (28mm) without any loss in quality. 

With the cheap lens the edges of the pictures were badly distorted but with the WCL-X100 the picture…

It's All in the Detail

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Sometimes the most mundane of items can be photographic gold. Whether it is seaweed on a beach, a padlock on fence or an old mooring ring on a harbour wall, these can all come to life with a bit creativity.  Take this old fence post I found on a recent walk in Grantham.  This was tucked away in a hedge and was rotten, gnarled and quite beautiful in a strange way.  Added to the condition of the wood was the rusty nails and U pins that were used to hold the barbed wire.  It was these details that made it the perfect photographic subject. Putting the X100 on macro mode to get some close up images I shot at f4 or f5.6 to give a shallow depth of field.  To keep the shutter speed a reasonable level I also had to push the ISO to 2000 because the fence post was under cover in the hedge and the light levels were quite low.  However this provided me with yet another demonstration of the capabilities of this awesome camera, the noise levels were very low and very controlled - I don't think th…

Morning Reflections in Tobermory - A Winning Image

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Earlier this year I entered a Facebook competition run by photographic retailer Jessops to find the five best regional images from around the UK - South of England, North of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.  I entered my favourite shot from our trip to Mull in December and was judged to be the best entry for Scotland.
Yesterday Jessops put up the five regional winners and asked visitors to vote for their favourite and 'Morning Reflections' received the most votes and the image is now the cover picture for the Jessops Facebook page. The picture was taken on a very cold 27 December 2011.  I got up just before dawn and headed down to the harbour.  The scene was so peaceful, with just a couple of other people up and about (the rest were probably sleeping off their Christmas hangovers).  While we have visited Mull on several occassions in the past few years, this was our first winter trip.  If this had been May or August the scene would have been very different with mor…

Eating Out in Japan

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One of the highlights of the trip to Fuji for the penultimate round of the FIA World Endurance Championship was the team dinner at a traditional Japanese restaurant. 

This was an authentic Japanese meal with Japanese traditions rights down to taking your shoes off before entering the restaurant.  The tables were slung low to the floor with cushions to sit on but there was a pit under the table so we Westerners didn't have to sit crossed legged at dinner.


The table was beautifully laid and so was the menu, which was handwritten in Japanese, so we were completely oblivious to what we were about to eat.  But when in Rome (or Tokyo) you do as the Romans (Japanese) do so we just tucked in. The courses just kept coming and I lost count in the end. The food was delicious and as I love fish there was no complaints from yours truly.  The Japanese beer was also good but the Sake was even better - just as well we had a bus back to the hotel. To round the evening off we had the traditional Japan…

Picture of the Week: Big Stopper in Berwick

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Earlier this year I purchased a Lee Filters 'Big Stopper' 10x Neutral Density filter, which increases the exposure time by 10 times.  Anything moving in the picture is blurred and for landscapes this means the clouds and water take on a surreal effect. Here are two shots of the sunrise in Berwick on Tweed last week.  The first is a 30 second exposure and you can clearly see the effect of the slow exposure.
The second shot is a straight picture of the sunrise from the same point but with a longer lens to highlight the sunrays coming through the clouds.  The shutter speed for this shot was 1/1600th of a second.
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Fuji San

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In the past 8 weeks I have been lucky enough to visit four countries on business - Brazil, Bahrain, Japan and China - but the one I was most looking forward to was the FIA WEC event at Fuji International Speedway in Japan. 

The circuit is located in the shadow of Mount Fuji, which dominates the skyline.  Unfortunately with the 'world tour' schedule being so intense I didn't get the opportunity to visit the mountain but there was plenty of opportunity to photograph it from afar.  Next year we will visit Fuji in October again and this time the schedule will allow some extra days to explore a bit further afield and hopefully the mountain will have its trademark snow cap which was just becoming visible the day we left for the airport.
Mount Fuji Facts Mount Fuji, with an elevation rise of 12,388 feet, is the 35th most prominent mountain in the world. It has a circumference of 78 miles and a diameter of 30 miles. Its crater is 820 feet deep and has a surface diameter of 1,600 fee…

Autumn Gold

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A beautiful morning was the scene for a walk in the Vale of Belvoir to capture some of the autumn colours. I headed to Jubilee Walk which traverses the Vale through the woods close to Belvoir Castle. Armed with both my Nikon D700, with the 17-35 F2.8 and 50mm f1.4 lenses, and the Fujifilm X100 I set about capturing the scenes I came across on the woodland trails, stopping occassionally to take a close up of the yellow and gold leaves. Here are some of the results -








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ALL IMAGES ARE THE PROPERTY OF MACLEAN PHOTOGRAPHIC AND CANNOT BE USED FOR ANY PURPOSE WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION

If you like what you see on this blog please visit our Facebook page and click 'like'

MORE IMAGES CAN BE VIEWED ON FLICKR AND ON OUR WEBSITE